- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2020

A woman accused of sending a threatening letter containing the poison ricin to President Trump has been denied bail and will remain in federal custody, a federal judge in Buffalo ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Schroeder Jr. said Pascale Ferrier, 55, was clearly capable of harming the president when she tried to cross the border between Canada and the United States last week.

“There is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant does constitute a threat to the president of the United States as well as others in the community,” Judge Schroeder said.

Ms. Ferrier, a computer programmer from Montreal, has pled not guilty to one charge of making threats against the president of the United States. If convicted, she faces up to five years in federal prison.

Prosecutors said in court filings that tests confirmed the presence of ricin on a letter she mailed to Mr. Trump. The letter assailed Mr. Trump as an “ugly tyrant clown.” and threatened that if the ricin doesn’t work, the sender will “find [a] better recipe for another poison or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come.”

At six additional letters were discovered in Texas with similarities to the one mailed to Mr. Trump. The letters were mailed to employees at detention facilities in Texas, where, according to court documents, Ms. Ferrier was incarcerated last year.

Prosecutor Timothy Lynch argued that Ms. Ferrier was a threat to the community and should remain in custody while being transported to Washington, D.C. where she will face criminal charges.

“It is clear this defendant has a desire to kill the president of the United States and individuals she feels wronged her in Texas,” he said.

Mr. Lynch insisted Ms. Ferrier intended to carry out her threat, noting that when she was arrested at the border, she possessed a handgun, 240 rounds of ammunition, a baton, and a stun gun.

“She was loaded for bear,” he said.

“She’s following through with her initial threat to the president of the United States that if the ricin didn’t work, she would use her gun,” Mr. Lynch told the court.

Public Defender Fonda Kubiak argued that her client wasn’t a threat to flee and could be trusted to appear in a D.C. courtroom next month.

Ms. Kubiak cited Ms. Ferrier’s stable employment and connections to the suburban Montreal community where she lives.

As Ms. Kubiak tells it, her client wasn’t stopped at the border, but rather went to the police to turn herself in for threatening the president.

“This is not someone trying to sneak into a country or trying to evade capture,” she said. “This is someone who sees the news reports and says ‘I’m here to address whatever it is out there with respect to me.”

Judge Schroeder remained unmoved. He cited the long history of assassinations and threats lodged against U.S. presidents, noting the government has “a very strong case” of her guilt.

“[The] pieces of evidence are sufficient for me to conclude that they clearly show this defendant’s capabilities to commit or threaten to commit acts of violence, bringing about the death or homicide of a third party,” he said.

Ms. Ferrier was transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, which will be responsible for transporting her to D.C. A court date in D.C. has not yet been scheduled.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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